Help in time of trouble

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging … He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)

If I truly believe that God is my refuge and strength, that He is always ready to help in times of trouble, then why don’t I ask? I’m very good about complaining to others about my troubles, but reluctant to go to Him. Where is the logic is this scenario? That’s probably the problem. I don’t think, but just do. I fail to be still and know that I am God.

Wrangling on the political front during a presidential voting year, mass shootings nationally and internationally, rumblings at home within family and friend relationships all lead to unrest. It’s tough to be still when turmoil rages all around us.

Psalm 46 speaks of unrest … earthquakes, mountains crumble into the sea, oceans roar and foam, mountains tremble as the waters surge! I can see where people would fear for their lives and tremble inside and out. Yet, in the middle of all this turbulence, Scripture reminds me to be still. Know that God is in control; He knows what is happening in a very small corner of my life. This speaks comfort, rest for those of us who tend to worry or fret about circumstances.

  • What specifically is troubling you today?
  • In what way can you be still and know that I am God in the midst of your troubling situation?

*****

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How satisfied are you?

“The first hour of waking is the rudder that guides the whole day,” Henry W. Beecher.     Swiftsure - Clipper Cup (Copy)

How do you roll in the morning? My morning usually rolls rather slowly. It takes me a bit to get my bearings and move toward a worthwhile goal. Have you heard the saying, I’d like mornings better if they came earlier in the day? That’s me!

I know this for sure: when I look upward first thing in the morning (even before my feet hit the floor), my day goes so much better. Sometimes it’s only a quick SOS prayer—Lord, help me throughout this day. Prevent my mouth from saying unkind words. Help me see others through Your eyes. Casting my eyes on Scripture or reading through a devotional helps me center my thoughts and mind in pleasant, righteous places. Just may mean the difference between a great day and a horrible-bad one.

  • What can you do to center your mind on good and right thoughts?
  • Record how your day went thinking about the time you spent on bullet point #1.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

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Pot of Gold

Recently I had the opportunity to sit at a book signing table with another talented writer, Kerry McAvoy and a dear friend, Vicki. Just like in past signings, I am amazed at the similarity of people who cross our paths (or stop at our table). We received words of affirmation, shared stories, and even received hugs from total strangers. Connectedness.   Womens Expo Book SigningRelational. Each of us has a story to tell; some put the words down on paper, others tell their story with just the words from their mouth. Either way, the story deserves to be told. Told to the current generation and then the next generation will become a part of the original whole.

In conferences I’ve heard that if you intend to go into the writing business to make tons of money, you’d better chose a different vocation because that probably won’t happen. But then again, maybe those people weren’t counting new friendships, words of thanks and praise. Today my gifts equaled much more than money can buy. Like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Thank you all for the vital part you play in shaping my world which causes me to thank my Creator. The one who gifted me with insight, courage, and the talent and motivation to write my story.

*****

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Shine Like Stars

“Do not be afraid to be different from other people. The path I have called you to travel is exquisitely right for you. The more closely you follow My leading, the more fully I can develop your gifts. To follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your desire to please other people. However, your closeness to Me will bless others by enabling you to shine brightly in this dark world,” Jesus Calling.

 So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe—Philippians 2:15.

Are you afraid to be different than other people? I would have to admit that sometimes I am; other times, I don’t have that problem at all. I do wish that I’d fall into the last category more often. When I read the quotes in this post, I understand them to say that being different just for the sake of being different is not entirely what God intended either.

I suspect that He would have us be different in that we no longer follow the selfish goals and desires of this world including addictions to career, food and drink, fashions, etc., Purposeful forsaking those worldly pursuits in order to follow after purity and His will for our life. This might mean less time with eyes and mind focused on electronic devices and more quality time being renewed and not conforming to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,

I like the idea of shining brightly in this dark world and shining like a star in the universe. Someone to point others to the True North and bright and morning star. Hope. Renewal. Truth, honesty, justice, lovely praise and virtue.

Shall we strive together to be and model those good behavior patterns, relinquishing the need to people-please, so our gifts can be more fully developed? I’m in, are you?

*****

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Where is your gaze fixed?

Instead of trying to “fix” yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love. (Jesus Calling)

The song, He is Mighty to Save by Hillsong United continued to come to my friend’s mind as we navigated through and beyond yesterday’s challenges together.

Horizon Display

Savior, He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save

Forever, author of Salvation

He rose and conquered the grave.

Jesus conquered the grave.

Yesterday was an amazing day all the way around. An event which my husband and I + family and friends had been preparing for, praying over, sweating about and eventually turned over to Him finally came to completion. We are overwhelmed, thankful, and still amazed at the outcome! To top it all off, God displayed His handiwork across the horizon in the evening skies.

When was the last time you doubted, second-guessed God and His timing? I should know better since He’s proved over and over again that He is faithful and just. His timing is perfect even though I sometimes long for a speedier response. When will I learn that His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord? “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Lord, I want to fix my eyes on You; not on me. The fact that You see me clothed in Your righteousness, radiant in Your perfect Love is tough for me to even comprehend. Yet, You said it and I believe it! I praise You and thank you this day and how You showed Your faithfulness.

*****

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do not merely live life to survive …

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style,” Maya Angelou

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Teachable Spirit

‘Seek My face with a teachable spirit. Come into My presence with thanksgiving, desiring to be transformed’—Jesus Calling. Sarah Young mentions further, “I want you to be all Mine … I gave everything for you … hold back nothing from Me.”   Book Cover Template Life is Good v2

I wonder just how much I hold back. He desires all of me, but oftentimes I cling to my rights, my will, my desires. Do you find yourself doing the same? When I hold back little things such as choices and priorities, I lose on a much larger scale. Reminds me of a favorite quote of mine, Let go and let God.

Now that my first book is FINALLY out there, can I ease up? I’m told no by the experts. Even though the work was long and sometimes difficult, my journey (or at least the next chapter) has just begun. Now comes the marketing and promotional end of publishing: book signings, talks, interviews (check out interview with Jan Holst from MLive) , social media posts, etc.,

I am so very thankful for all my angel helpers along the way, but I still cannot do this alone. Engaging others will serve to further a mission and purpose for writing my grace story. So I now seek His face with a teachable spirit. Not a spirit of knowing-it-all or pretending to have my life all together. Such is the contrary! I need my Heavenly Father and a team EVEN MORE NOW. Transform me into a useful vessel. Useful for Your service, Your plan, and purpose. Keep me grounded in Scripture by sharing my grace story and showing others that Life is truly Good, Fragile, and Precious!     

  • What ways can you exhibit a teachable spirit?
  • Is there some area of your life you are holding back from God? If so, name it.
  • Can you place three items on your thankful list today?

*****

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Birthing a “baby”

I’ve heard it said that writing and releasing a book is somewhat akin to birthing a baby. Now that I’m on the other side of that equation, I agree.   Book Cover Template Life is Good v2

Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious just released to the public this week, and I find myself with mixed emotions. Mostly joy and elation, but there’s also that tinge of fear and anxiety. What if my readers do not like it? What if they don’t understand what lies between the pages? Worse yet, what if no one reads the words?

No, I cannot allow the enemy’s words to ring louder than my Father’s gentle nudging. I remind myself that I was ready to give up on this project years ago, but then … He came through. Again.

I set out a type of fleece with one last effort to attract a publisher’s attention. It was at a writer’s conference in Muskegon I’d attended for years. This year they sponsored a contest. I’m a sucker for contests and freebies. Okay, God, I will do the work, but if nothing comes from this last effort, I’m finished!  I decided, what did I have to lose? I put together a painstakedly created book proposal along with the first three chapters of Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious (only that wasn’t the title I used then). You can imagine my ecstatic joy and surprise when my name was announced as a winner at the tail end of the conference.

I cannot give up now. Too much prayer, toil, and time has gone into the making of this piece of hope. My grace story from the viewpoint of a brain surgery survivor needs to be told. I hope you chose to read my story of seeking balance in this crazy-mixed up world. Thank you, God, and my loyal supporters for not giving up on me.

p.s. my book can be found on Amazon.com. My first book signing will be on Saturday, June 4 at Rockford City Hall parking lot, 10- 1:00 p.m. Love to see you there in person!

*****

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Constant Companions

Regret. Anger, Sorrow.
Bedfellows I do not choose
Yet they come upon me like
Constant Companions
Hiding for a season, then
Popping their ugly heads up again
When I least expect their arrival

Will I choose Life, Calm, Joy?
As I continue my journey and
Theirs comes to an end
Or, will I ignore, pretend
I am okay—hoping
Regret. Anger, Sorrow
Ride away on the next wave?
Not to surface for another season

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Homeward Bound

Teresa-Karen cross country trekBaldwin sisters on their trek home. Karen and I nicknamed ourselves the Baldwin sisters–remember The Waltons television show?

Our trip proved a mix of enlightenment, frustration, joy, anger, sadness, sympathy, and loss. We found our dad—at least a shell of who he used to be. His body and mind fails more often than not.

My mind longs to forget the now and return to the then. I choose to remember his quick wit, willingness to help others, when his body moved freely and without constant pain, his insatiable quest for best bargains and love for food.

Dad, we love you and hope and pray only the best for you.

*****

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